Sunday, 10 August 2014

Timber company fined after forklift truck accident

Jon Walker Timber Product Ltd, a timber company, has been fined £24,850 (inc.costs) after an employee was run over by a forklift truck.

The circumstances were:

  • Pallets were transported on forklift trucks through the yard.
  • There was no safe system of work for this. 
  • A risk assessment was not carried out.
  • Employees had not been provided with adequate training, information or instruction. 
  • Pedestrians and vehicles should not have been working in such close proximity.
  • The forklift driver’s licence had expired four months prior to the incident 
  • Forklifts were operated by other unlicensed drivers.
  • On 30 July 2012 James Abrahams was walking alongside a forklift to steady a pallet of fencing. 
  • He was hit by the truck and suffered leg fractures, broken and dislocated toes and deep grazing.
  • Mr Abrahams was hospitalised for 12 days and unable to work for a number of months. He has not returned to the company.
  • The firm had been issued with an Improvement Notice in 2001 for a lack of risk assessments. 
  • Written advice had previously been given by HSE on workplace transport issues, including forklift driver training.
The HSE inspector said:
“This incident could so easily have resulted in a fatality and was entirely preventable. It had become the usual procedure, when pallets were leaning or unstable, for employees to walk alongside forklift trucks to hold the loads steady. It was this unsafe practice that led to serious injury. Vehicles at work are a major cause of fatal and severe injuries with more than 5,000 incidents involving workplace transport every year. Providing a safe system of work based upon the findings of a suitable risk assessment and adequately training, informing and instructing of staff makes incidents such as this significantly less likely.”

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